Media Release

Coalition streamlines livestock export regulations

11 September 2014

Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, today announced common-sense cuts to red tape for livestock exporters.

"In line with our election commitment I am fast-tracking an achievable and sensible reduction in the regulatory burden industry bears in meeting Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) requirements," Minister Joyce said.

"The Australian community expects our animals to be handled humanely when exported overseas and accordingly, ESCAS is the only system in the world established to ensure international animal welfare standards are met offshore and throughout the entire supply chain.

"It is the responsibility of our exporters to ensure the treatment of our animals complies with these standards – but government also has a responsibility to make sure this goal is achieved using the lightest regulatory touch."

ESCAS changes announced today include:

  • Separating ESCAS approval from individual consignment approvals
  • Adding the option of risk based auditing for compliant supply chains
  • Consolidating and improving auditor checklists used to assess compliance with international animal welfare standards.

Minister Joyce said the red tape reductions meant the regulatory framework's focus would be on managing risk rather than paperwork and result in fewer audits for low risk supply chains – both of which would reduce costs to industry over time.

"For example, separating ESCAS approval from individual consignment approvals means we can approve an exporter's ESCAS arrangements to a market once, rather than for every consignment sent to that market. This change is vitally important because all the extra paperwork and approvals don’t add up to a corresponding increased level of assurance or animal welfare outcomes.

"We use audits to make sure the arrangements attested to under ESCAS are working. The changes I announce today will help us there as well. We can increase the number of audits for those supply chains where we have experienced non-compliance in the past and reduce the number of audits for supply chains that have not had any issues.

"These common-sense changes continue to provide the community with assurance that our animals are humanely treated.

"We had an election commitment to improve the efficiency of ESCAS and to reduce red tape associated with it. This goes some way to delivering that and I anticipate announcing more reforms to ESCAS processes in the coming months," Minister Joyce said.